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Nathula Pass in Sikkim

Nathula Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass situated on the Indo-Chinese border in North-Eastern Himalayas in Sikkim. Nestled at 14,140 feet above sea level, Nathula Pass connects Sikkim to China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It is among the highest mountain passes accessible by tourists via motorable roads.

This high-altitude mountain pass is located on the Old Silk Route and is one of the oldest trading border posts connecting Tibet and India. Marked by the gates of both countries (India and China) and military bunkers on both sides, Nathula Pass is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Sikkim.

Nathula Pass is one of the three open-gate trading border posts and has played an important role in the Sino-India trade. Nathula Pass also shortened the distance between prominent Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. You can visit this renowned tourist destination with our Sikkim tour packages and soak in the scenic beauty of the majestic peaks. Contact us for more information and to book a tour with us!

Note: Only Indian Nationals are allowed to visit Nathula Pass due to its proximity to the China border.

Everything to know about Nathula Pass Sikkim

Nathula Pass Entry Timings

You can visit Nathula Pass from Wednesday to Sunday between 8 AM to 6 PM.

Nathula Pass Weather

May to October is the best time to visit Nathula Pass. Nathula weather during this time remains between 10°C and 15°C during the day and does not snow. You can treat your eyes to the breathtaking landscape and witness high mountain peaks on a clear day.

During winters, the weather in Nathula gets extreme. From November to December, you can visit Gangtok to Nathula Pass. There is heavy snowfall, and the Nathula temperature drops to -25°C. November and March are great months to visit Nathula Pass, as the weather is quite enjoyable. However, Nathula weather in April is delightful, and there is a chance you can see snow.

Best time to visit Nathula Pass

The best time to visit Nathula Pass is from May to October. During summers, the temperature at Nathula Pass is around 10⁰ C, which is favorable for a sightseeing tour. However, the region becomes inaccessible in winter due to heavy snowfall, and the temperature falls to almost -25⁰ C. The Nathula Pass remains closed for tourists on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, on other days of the week, it closes by 1:30 PM.

Places to visit in Nathula Pass in Sikkim

A great place to visit in North East India, especially Sikkim, Nathula Pass in Gangtok is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the world. The winding path to this scenic mountain pass from Gangtok is amazing and is blessed with a spectacular view of mountain scenery.

Some of the popular tourist places near Nathula Pass Sikkim are:

  • Tsomgo Lake – Perched at an altitude of 12,310 feet above sea level, Tsomgo Lake is a high-altitude glacier lake. It is also known as Changu Lake and remains frozen during the winter. The mesmerizing scenic allure and the legendary significance make it a famous tourist destination near Nathula Pass.
  • Baba Mandir – Situated at 13,123 feet on Nathula – Jelepla road, Baba Mandir is a shrine built to commemorate the Indian soldier Harbhajan Singh.
  • War Memorial and Exhibition Centre: The Indian Army built this war memorial to honor the brave soldiers who laid their lives defending the country.
  • Menmecho Lake:  A 4 km idyllic trek from Baba Mandir takes you to Menmecho Lake, fed by a snow-covered mountain surrounded by Jelepla Pass. It is the source of the River Rangpo Chu, a tributary of the Teesta River.
  • Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary: Adjoining Tsomgo Lake and Rong Chu Valley is rich in flora and fauna. It is also home to endangered and rare ground orchids and rhododendrons.

Accommodation in Nathula Pass

As it is a border post, the army occupies the area. Therefore, there is no accommodation option at Nathula Pass for tourists. However, if you are stranded at the place, the Indian Army accommodates you for one night.

Things to do in Nathula Pass

There are a plethora of things to do in and around Nathula Pass. Here are some of the best things to do:

  • Climb the slope and stairs to the Indo-Chinese border.
  • Trek to Menmecho Lake
  • Swim at Mandakini Waterfall, or just click photographs.
  • Seek blessings at Baba Mandir and listen to the legendary story of Baba Harbhajan Singh.
  • Visit the War Memorial to get a glimpse of the glory and courage of Indian soldiers.
  • Spot rare species of flora and fauna in Zuluk Wildlife Sanctuary.

How to reach Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass in Sikkim, sharing borders with China. The closest well-connected town is Gangtok, almost 54 km away. Here is the detailed information about how to reach Nathula Pass:

Nathula Pass By Air

The closest airport from Gangtok is Bagdogra Airport, at 178 km. It is well-connected to the country's major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Chennai, from various airlines. From Gangtok, tourists can hire a cab or board a shared jeep for Nathula Pass.

Nathula Pass By Rail

The nearest railhead from Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri, situated at 98 km. Tourists can hire a private/ shared cab or board a bus for Gangtok from the railway station. And from Gangtok, sturdy SUVs and vehicles like Innova, Bolero, Scorpio, etc., ply regularly on the treacherous roads of Nathula Pass.

Nathula Pass By Road

Nathula Pass is well-connected from Gangtok by road network. Therefore, one can quickly get a shared or private taxi to reach Nathula Pass.

  • Gangtok to Nathula pass distance-  59 km

Here are a few tips you should keep in mind while traveling to Nathula Pass:

  • Nathula Pass remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. So, plan accordingly.
  • It is mandatory to carry a permit to visit Nathula Pass. One must obtain the Protected Area Permit (PAP) issued by Tourism and Civil Aviation at Gangtok or registered travel agencies.
  • Carry heavy woolens as the region experiences cold throughout the year.
  • Drink enough water and rest properly as it is important to get your body to acclimate at such a high altitude to avoid Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS).
  • Carry first-aid boxes and important medicines, including fever, vomiting, cold, and cough.

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Other Sikkim Cities

Frequently Asked Questions about Nathula Pass Sikkim

Q: What is the distance from Gangtok to Nathula Pass?

Ans: Gangtok to Nathula Pass distance and time is approx. 60 km and 2 hours respectively.

Q: Where is Nathula Pass Located?

Ans: Nathula Pass is located in Sikkim and on the Old Silk Route. It connects Sikkim to Tibet Autonomous Region in China.

Q: How do I get a permit for Nathula Pass?

Ans: Nathula Pass is a Himalayan mountain pass in the East Sikkim district connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Indian nationals need a valid permit to visit the Nathula Pass. You can obtain a permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department or through a registered travel agency. A photo ID proof and two passport size photographs are required for the permit. You can visit Nathula pass only by a vehicle provided by such a registered tour operator.

Q: When do I see snow in Nathula Pass?

Ans: From December to May, there is heavy snowfall in Nathula Pass. if you are a snow lover, book a Sikkim package with Indian Holiday and delight in a fun snow fight with your loved ones.

Q: Which month Nathula Pass is closed?

Ans: Nathula Pass remains closed on Monday and Tuesday. You can visit Nathula Pass in summer (April to mid-June) and Autumn (October - November). However, there are some months when only Indian Nationals are allowed to visit Nathula Pass.

Q: Can we go to Nathula Pass in December?

Ans: Yes, you can visit Nathula Pass in December. Due to bad weather and extremely low temperatures, Nathula Pass might get closed. But it usually remains open. You can rent snow gears and have a fun time with your family and friends here.

Q: What is the best time to visit Nathula Pass?

Ans: May to October is the best time to visit Nathula Pass to enjoy its breathtaking beauty